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Southeast Asia’s only nuclear plant is a tourist site. That may change as Philippines weighs using it decades after it was built via South China Morning Post

As power demand soars in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the Philippines’ energy ministry is looking seriously again at nuclear power

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The Philippines splashed out US$2.3 billion on the 621-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, but mothballed it after the collapse of a dictatorship and the devastating Chernobyl disaster.

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As power demand soars in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the Philippines’ energy ministry is looking seriously again at nuclear power and urging President Rodrigo Duterte to fast track its revival.

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The Department of Energy has asked Duterte for an executive order declaring the Philippines ready for a nuclear power programme, said Gerardo Erguiza, energy assistant secretary.

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Marcos ordered the Bataan nuclear plant built in 1976 in response to an energy crisis, convinced nuclear energy was the solution to the Middle East oil embargo of the early 1970s.

Completed in 1984, the government mothballed it two years later following Marcos’ ouster and the deadly Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

From 2009, the government opened the plant to tourists for a fee, helping defray the cost of maintaining it, along with an annual state budget that this year was 32 million Philippine pesos (US$612,000).

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Opposition to reviving Manila’s nuclear ambitions remains strong, with advocates citing a reliance on imported uranium, high waste and decommissioning costs, as well as safety concerns.

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